Creation of character models is time-consuming.
First, the modelers have to create a 3D mesh. Then, the texturing artists have to develop textures. Finally, the rigging artists must add skeletal and facial rigs to the characters.
Because of this complexity, many game development companies outsource character creation.
With its new feature in Unreal Engine 5, Epic might have made this process easier.
Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman feature is a cloud-based creation system that lets you create custom, high-quality character models within minutes.
Instead of spending hours creating models and textures, with MetaHuman, you can create characters like how you do in an RPG game. It works like this:
There is a set of pre-sets (Epic created presets from scan data of actual humans and hence has greater detail) that act as default starting points. You can select one of these pre-set characters and customize them. To do so, you just have to move different sliders, each corresponding to different categories such as the face, body proportion, hair, etc. In the end, you get a custom character.
Once you complete MetaHuman creation, you can download the MetaHuman in the desired quality from the Quixel Bridge.
You can even import the MetaHuman into the Unreal Engine directly. First, you must download the MetaHuman after configuring settings, including the texture resolution. Then, you can export them into the Unreal Engine by selecting the version of the engine you are using as the target and, installing the plugin, exporting the file into the engine.
In addition, you can also share the file of the MetaHuman with others. All you have to do is download the file and share it with them, and they can use it in their Unreal projects. You can even refine the MetaHuman further by exporting it into another visual editing software.
You can tweak a myriad of options to customize MetaHumans in Unreal to your preference. Below they are:
The MetaHuman in Unreal Engine 5 has several unique options that make the character creation seamless.
You can choose one of three modes to make changes and customize MetaHumans.
In Blend Mode, you combine features of three to six preset metaHumans to create a new character.
First, you select multiple MetaHumans to combine (you can select up to six.) Then using a slider, you manipulate the features to resemble different presets. The more you move the slider towards a specific pre-set, the more the pre-set’s characteristics influence the MetaHuman.
Blend Mode is Ideal For: Beginners with minimal experience in character modeling.
In Move Mode, you select large regions of a MetaHuman and customize it.
In this mode, each MetaHuman will have a group of markers that you can move. There will be changes in the MetaHuman based on the movement of the markers. The more the movement, the more substantial the changes.
Move Mode is Ideal For: Beginners.
Sculpt Mode lets you customize individual features of the MetaHuman. So, you get in-depth control over the model and can make even the minutest changes.
The Sculpt Mode is Ideal For: Both beginners and experienced modelers. Experienced modelers would be able to take full advantage of it.
You can animate MetaHumans directly because all of them come with a rig. You do not have to add the skeletal or facial rigs manually. Instead, you can go ahead to the animation step directly.
Unreal’s MetaHuman has a Mesh to MetaHuman feature that allows you to import meshes you created in other visual editing software. For example, you can import the character you created into Unreal and only need to re-author certain elements.
It supports both OBJ and FBX files. In addition, it also supports the import of both static and skeletal meshes.
The Viewport allows you to make and view the changes first-hand. You even have the option to view the MetaHuman in different environments, backgrounds, lighting conditions, etc., to check how the characters look in various settings.
In the Viewport, you can also set camera presets. You can view the model from different camera angles to understand if the character is really according to your preference.
MetaHumans supports multiple LODs (Level of Details). As per your preference, you can export the same model in different LODs
To do this, you must choose one of the options ranging from 0 to 8. MetaHumans of the O LOD have the highest polycount and are perfect for game projects that have high-fidelity graphics. On the other hand, those with a LOD of 8 have the lowest polygon count.
This means even mobile game development services companies can use MetaHuman models in their 3D mobile games. The models will have just the right amount of detail that balances visual appeal with performance.
For game developers, the character creation process becomes faster with MetaHuman. Because you just have to move a few sliders to customize the details, and you get a fully-rigged character model.
To create a MetaHuman, you do not need experience in modeling, and it is, instead, as easy as in-game character creation. This makes character creation accessible to everyone.
MetaHumans supports the import of meshes and export of MetaHumans to other software. So, you have the opportunity to experiment with different workflows.
For instance, you can create characters in one software and import them to MetaHuman. Or you can create a MetaHuman and export it to another software for fine-tuning.
Developers, including those that offer game development services, can benefit immensely from this.
Small companies and solo game developers have shied away from creating expansive 3D games because of the overheads for modeling. Most of them lacked the manpower and monetary investment required to create detailed character models.
Now, with MetaHumans, even the smallest game development team has the same access to quality 3D model creation as AAA giants.
MetaHumans will create a revolution in character creation. By democratizing character modeling, it will usher in innovation and lead to better games.
This is because, with Unreal Engine’s MetaHumans, Epic has catered to a wide range of use cases. And it appeals equally to beginner 3D character creators and experienced modelers.
Juego Studios is a top unreal game development company with a team of experienced developers. Our team has created games of all genres using the unreal game engine’s cutting-edge features to satisfy clients and end users.